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Navigating the North Atlanta Real Estate Market: A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Investors

In recent years, one term has dominated economic discussions: INFLATION. A recent survey revealed that 82% of respondents feel the impact of inflation on their household budgets. I want you to consider how investing in the North Atlanta real estate market can be a strategic response to inflationary pressures, especially for first-time investors.

The North Atlanta Real Estate Market in Numbers

Let’s start by looking at the average sales price increases over the past year in key North Atlanta cities:

Milton: From $1,001,114 in 2022 to $1,071,125 in 2023 (an increase of $70,011)
Alpharetta: From $590,609 to $643,293 (an increase of $52,684)
Roswell: From $554,821 to $598,375 (an increase of $43,554)
Woodstock: From $420,110 to $441,110 (an increase of $20,924)

This translates to an average annual increase of 7.3%.

Real Estate as a Hedge Against Inflation
So, how does real estate investment counter inflation? Here are three key ways:

• Rising Rents, Fixed Mortgages: As inflation rises, so do rental prices, while your mortgage rate stays the same. This means your return on investment increases with every rent hike.
• Paying Less Over Time: Inflation devalues future dollars. Since your mortgage payments are fixed, you effectively pay back less over time in real terms.
• Property Value Growth: Inflation typically drives up property values, enhancing the worth of your investment without increasing your mortgage debt.

Beyond Inflation: The Four Pillars of Real Estate Investment
Besides being one of the best hedges against inflation, real estate offers 4 other key benefits. Leverage, passive income, appreciation and tax write-offs.

• Leverage: Use loans from banks or mortgage companies to amplify your investment power.
• Passive Income: Rental income helps pay off your mortgage, building equity in your property.
• Appreciation: Property values tend to increase over time, boosting the worth of your investment.
• Tax Advantages: Benefits like depreciation deductions can reduce your taxable income.

Understanding Return on Investment (ROI)

Consider you buy a property for $100,000 with a 20% down payment ($20,000). If the property appreciates by 5%:

Gain: 5% of $100,000 = $5,000
ROI: $5,000 is 25% of your $20,000 investment
In comparison, to match this in a mutual fund at 10% yield, you’d need a $250,000 investment.

Getting Started in Real Estate Investment
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at least consider the idea of investing in real estate now. So where do you start? The first step is to define, with as much detail as you can, the criteria of the investment property. Consulting with a Realtor who has experience with investment property can help you gain clarity around what makes a good investment.

• Define Your Criteria: Detail the characteristics of your desired investment property – location, size, age, HOA presence, condition, and price range.
• Local Focus: Most investors focus within 20 miles of their residence. Narrow down your search to one or two areas.
• Market Research: Use online tools to track property prices and potential rental incomes. Visit neighborhoods at different times to get a feel for the area.
• Create Your Property ‘Avatar’: Develop a clear vision of your ideal investment property to streamline your search.
• Due Diligence: Once you have a property in mind, thoroughly check financial aspects like mortgage, insurance, and HOA rules. Consider getting contractor quotes for any potential upgrades or repairs.

Take the Leap

Armed with knowledge and the right strategy, 2024 can be your year to start investing in real estate. As Warren Buffett advises, be bold when others are cautious. Consulting with a knowledgeable Realtor and lender is an excellent first step.

Navigating the North Atlanta Real Estate Market: A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Investors

Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

Remember your friends who bought a house right at the beginning of Covid 19? At the time, we thought it was risky, as time went on we see what an amazing opportunity it was to purchase. Similarly, we may be looking back at those friends who purchase in the first few months of 2024 in the same light. There’s hesitancy with Buyers right now between interest rates, an election year and uncertainty in the real estate market.

Our data points to a rising market. The Federal Reserve has already indicated they will ease interest rates in 2024. Waiting for lower rates, like the majority of Buyers will do, means you’ll likely pay more. That’s because as mortgage rates drop, housing demand will surge, driving prices up. As mortgage rates drop, Buyers will come flocking back into the market, driving up competition. So as prices rise, and competition rises, we will be back to multiple offers and Sellers back in the driver seat. There is a window now with a more balanced market. Over the next few months, Buyers don’t necessarily have to make a rushed decision with little due diligence period and reduced negotiating leverage, giving Buyers more time to make an informed decision.

Home prices in our area rose over 6% from the start of 2023. Home prices are expected to continue to rise throughout 2024. Several factors are contributing to home price appreciation in our area. Despite the new home construction that is going on all around us, the new home inventory is still falling short of the housing stock we need. This problem goes back to the recession of 2009-2011, home building came to a screeching halt. For 3 years, we didn’t see any new building, and builders haven’t closed that gap. Adding to that were supply chain issues caused by Covid 19, to some degree builders are still dealing with short supply and labor. There’s still not enough being built at a fast enough pace to meet demand. Couple this with the homeowners who are not willing to part with their 3% mortgage rate, there are not enough homes on the market. Supply and demand dictates prices. More supply of Buyers, less supply of homes equals rising prices. Additionally, we continue to have a healthy supply of Buyers relocating to our area from out of state, attracted to the lifestyle and affordability compared to many other metro areas. Many out of state Buyers purchase in the late Spring and Summer (choosing to move in between school sessions). Waiting will place you in direct competition with these Buyers who often have company support and a tight timeline, making for tough competition. Often they are willing to pay asking price or above to secure their housing quickly and get settled in their new job and state.

If you’re renting, and you’re financially able to purchase, you should consider buying now. The sooner you purchase a home, the sooner you start building equity through mortgage paydown and price appreciation. Your costs are fixed, unlike rent that is likely to be increased each year. And when mortgage rates fall, you can consider refinancing. There’s peace of mind having predictability with your monthly housing costs. Inflation, interest rates or a change in your landlord’s situation will not impact your housing or payment situation once you’ve locked into a fixed rate loan in your own home. There are tax advantages you may be missing as a renter as well. Consult with your CPA for how these tax breaks would apply to you as some income limitation may apply, here are a few common ones.
 Mortgage Interest- you can deduct your mortgage interest.
 Real Estate Taxes – you can deduct state and local taxes in the year you pay them.
 Home Office Deduction – if you’re a small business owner who works from home and use part of your home exclusively for the primary place of business, you can deduct many home expenses.

Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

Agent Spotlight Interview – Shari Sautner

In this exclusive interview, Joanne Curtin sits down with one of the brightest stars on the Curtin Team, Agent/ Partner Shari Sautner. Shari’s journey in the real estate industry has been nothing short of remarkable, and in this spotlight interview, she shares her insights, experiences, and the key role that joining the Curtin Team has played in her business’s impressive growth.

Shari Sautner, a dynamic and passionate real estate agent, has made significant strides in the industry since becoming a part of the Curtin Team. With her dedication, knowledge, and commitment to providing exceptional service, Shari has not only thrived but also set a shining example for aspiring real estate professionals.

In this candid conversation, Joanne delves into Shari’s personal and professional journey, exploring the pivotal moments that have shaped her career. From the early days of building her client base to the strategies and support that the Curtin Team has provided, Shari shares invaluable tips, insights, and real-world experiences that have led to her remarkable success.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team YouTube channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!

Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Agent Partner, Shari Sautner

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Agent Spotlight Interview – Shari Sautner

Agent Spotlight Interview – Kanani Briggs

In this engaging video, join host Joanne Curtin as she sits down with Curtin Team Agent Partner, Kanani Briggs for an inspiring and heartfelt conversation. You’ll learn about Kanani’s unwavering commitment to fostering community connections and how it has become an integral part of her personal and professional life.

Kanani Briggs is not your typical real estate agent; she is a force of nature when it comes to building bridges within her community. With a warm and inviting personality, she has earned the trust and admiration of countless individuals, both clients and neighbors alike.

But it’s not just about business for Kanani Briggs. Throughout this conversation, you’ll witness her genuine love for people and the places they call home. She discusses her involvement in various community initiatives and how giving back has become a cornerstone of her life. Kanani’s passion for community connection goes beyond transactions; it’s about building lasting relationships and nurturing the spirit of togetherness.

In addition to her dedication to community, Kanani’s remarkable journey in real estate is highlighted by her exceptional achievements. She proudly received the “Rookie of the Year” award in her very first year in the industry, a testament to her dedication and hard work.

Aspiring and seasoned agents alike, take note: Kanani Briggs has invaluable advice for you. She emphasizes the importance of seeking out mentorship or joining a successful team. Her guidance is a beacon for those looking to thrive in the real estate world.

So, whether you’re a homeowner, aspiring to be one, or simply someone who values community bonds, this interview with Kanani Briggs is a must-watch. Join us as we explore the world of real estate through the lens of someone who believes that building strong communities is the key to a better future. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired and learn how you can make a positive impact on the place you call home, just like Kanani does every day.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!

Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Agent Partner, Kanani Briggs

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

https://youtu.be/PYNUfmLAhPk

Agent Spotlight Interview – Kanani Briggs

Joanne Curtin Interviews Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson

In the heart of a bustling city lies the promise of a dynamic future, shaped by the vision, determination, and leadership of its residents and officials. Roswell, a city known for its vibrant community and rich history, stands at a crossroads where possibilities are endless. Joanne Curtin, sits down with Mayor Kurt Wilson, a visionary leader committed to propelling Roswell into a new era of prosperity. This candid conversation is about the city’s future trajectory, the challenges it faces, and the timeless principles of leadership that will guide its journey towards an even brighter future.

Joanne: Thank you for having me over today. I am admiring your wall of photos here. Can you tell me more about it?

Mayor Wilson: I am glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve enjoyed your “Behind The Curtin” videos. These photos on the wall are all people that have had an impact on me.

Joanne: I think it’s great that you reflected on who to put up there. That’s awesome, because you don’t get where you’re going without learning from others. So, if you could have dinner any of these people, who would you invite?

Mayor Wilson: That’s a great question. I would probably be more contemporary oriented than historically oriented. I definitely would talk to Mother Theresa. Everything I read about her is authentic, honest, and courageous. She’s an incredible warrior who has this great courage most of wish we had and she’s challenging her faith all the time. And Johnny Carson, of course. My dad was Carson’s doppelganger, they looked like twins.

Joanne: Most of our clients are in the area we like to call “The Platinum Triangle”, that’s Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton. I’m curious about what you think sets Roswell apart from Alpharetta and Milton?

Mayor Wilson: I love my sister cities, let’s start there. I routinely have the mayors of Alpharetta and Milton over to my home. I believe in personal engagement because we are all in this together. Roswell has been successful in part because it won the geographic lottery. It was once the crown jewel of North Fulton County. Now, I acknowledge that Alpharetta has grown and they have some advantages over us, take for example the number of exits off the 400. Whereas Milton has stuck to their vision of being made up of mostly single-family homes. And that works for them.

The city of Roswell is 42 square miles, that’s it. And 65% of that is made up of single- family homes. We’re looking at the other 35% that, until now, did not have a viable long term economic strategic narrative. How do we get ahead in terms of industry? We can’t chase manufacturing businesses that we don’t have the room for. And without an intentional strategy, someone else was going to make the strategy for us – the state, the federal government, Fulton county. When I came in to office it was clear to me that Roswell needed to be a city of 120,000 people in 20 years. We are currently at 96,000. That means the city of Roswell is going to be very intentional. In other words, the development community is not going to come to us. We’re going to do the placemaking for the development community. As I said, we have limited space, 42 square miles, and because we have limited space we have scarcity. So, we’re about to use that to our economic advantage. The city is already heavily invested in zero based budgeting. That means we’re really serious about how we spend our money and reimagining how each department works and what services to provide, from an entrepreneur perspective. We are looking at what we do well, and what we don’t do so well.

Joanne: Since you’ve been in office, what’s something you are most proud of?

Mayor Wilson: All credit goes to God and my team. I am proud to say we’ve gotten more done in 12 months that has been done in 20 years. We have the best in class police force focused on de-escalation, a full-time fire department, and passage of the $180 million dollar bond overwhelmingly approved by voters.

I am a big believer that we’re building our organization in a different way. I hope we are building a political legacy and leadership that will last beyond my term. The question we ask ourselves is “what’s the right thing to do for the city of Roswell?” I hope the legacy is an organization that is highly competent, highly effective.

Joanne: You talked about looking at things done well and things that need improving. Is there something in particular that you’re working on?

Mayor Wilson: Communication is the hardest thing for us. We’re a fairly static organization and it seems we’re always playing defense. The challenge is to reach people with consistent, authentic, and sophisticated messaging.

I really believe that leadership has responsibility, not just for governing, but for bringing rational discussion into the marketplace. The overwhelming majority of us want to have sober discussions with healthy skepticism. I hope we heal the acrimony that has overtaken our political debates.

Roswell is a great place to live, There’s an unbelievable quality of life here. And I want to people who live here to really know that, to enjoy it, and to celebrate it.

Joanne: We love Roswell. In 2017, Tom and I started a 501c3 non-profit, Curtin Team Cares. We are committed to helping local families and organizations where help is needed most. Currently we are actively working with the Children’s Development Academy of Roswell (CDA). Are there any other organizations in Roswell that you feel others should know about?

Mayor Wilson: I love our community and I love CDA with the leadership of Maggie DeCan. I believe in the mission of CDA [www.cdakids.org]. We have so many great charities that operate in Roswell. HomeStretch [www.homestretch.org], North Fulton Community Charities [www.nfcchelp.org] with Sandy Holiday at the helm, Sunny and Ranney [www.sunneyandranney.com], and can’t forget The Cottage School [www.cottageschool.org]. The Cottage School has a beautiful mission and has really helped save students and their families.

Joanne: Since we’re in the South, I’m sure you know that people are just as interested in where you are from as who you are for.

Mayor Wilson: You saved the toughest question for last. Well, I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama where half the town loves Alabama and the other half loves Auburn. I went to college at Ole Miss. And then I moved to Georgia and I’m still learning how to respond whenever someone says, “Go Dawgs!”. I love the Braves. So, I guess, I root for everyone. How’s that for a politician’s response?

Joanne: (laughs) Okay. That’s a fair answer. It’s been pleasure talking to you today. I am excited to hear about the new developments in Roswell that will soon be announced. We’ll have to meet up again so we can talk more about them.

Mayor Wilson: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Roswell is a remarkable place and I’m looking forward to its bright future.

Joanne Curtin Interviews Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson

Agent Spotlight Interview – Christy Smith

Joanne Curtin sits down with the dynamic Christy Smith, Director of Sales. Christy shares her unique perspective on market trends, work/life balance, and the importance of building strong client relationships. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, agent, or simply interested in the world of real estate, this interview promises to provide you with keen insights and a deeper understanding of the sales process.

Enjoy this insightful conversation where Joanne and Christy discuss all things related to real estate sales, strategies for success, and the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. With Christy’s extensive experience and leadership in sales, you’re in for a wealth of valuable tips and advice that can help both seasoned professionals and newcomers navigate the real estate world.

Christy shares her unique perspective on market trends, work/life balance, and the importance of building strong client relationships. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, agent, or simply interested in the world of real estate, this interview promises to provide you with keen insights and a deeper understanding of the sales process.

Throughout the interview, you’ll discover how Curtin Team’s approach to real estate has contributed to their outstanding reputation and success in the field.

So, whether you’re looking to enhance your sales skills, gain insights into the real estate industry, or simply enjoy a captivating conversation, make sure to hit that play button and join us for this enlightening interview with Christy Smith. Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!

Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Director of Sales, Christy Smith

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Agent Spotlight Interview – Christy Smith

New Construction Home Tours with Joanne Curtin

Join your host, Joanne Curtin, as she takes you on an exclusive tour of new construction homes and townhomes in Barrington Place, Ecco Park, and Millstone Park. Can you guess the price?

WATCH THE HOME TOURS HERE

House #1- Barrington Place home, built by Brightwater Homes, is in historic Roswell near The Mill Kitchen and Bar and is a net zero home (Net zero means the home generates the renewable power to match the needs of the home). Did you know that Roswell is a certified Green Community – platinum level?

Townhome #2 – Ecco Park is located in Alpharetta 30022. This townhome community is being developed and built by The Providence Group.

Townhome #3 – Millstone Park townhomes are located near Deerfield Parkway, Alpharetta. These three story townhomes are conveniently located near Exit 11 (GA-400) and close to shopping and restaurants.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

New Construction Home Tours with Joanne Curtin

“Behind the Curtin” Presents Presents A Historic Home on Roswell’s Wood Place Episode 6

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 6 – A Historic Home on Roswell’s Wood Place

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Charlie and Sharon McCall live in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia. They have updated and renovated a nearly 100 year old home in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia.

Joanne: Where did you live before purchasing your house on Wood Place?

Charlie: We lived in Chicago. Before that, we were in Atlanta since 1982, coming from Salt Lake City due to a company transfer. Then in 1992, we were transferred to Chicago. After about two and a half years, we decided to move back and bought this house 31 years ago.

Joanne: How have you increased your property’s value over time? What renovations have you done?

Charlie: We remodeled the bathrooms, added a master bedroom suite, created a bonus room in the attic, and continuously landscaped the yard. We also added a pool and patio in the back.

Joanne: Did you use a designer for the renovations?

Charlie: We hired a contractor for the inside work like the bathrooms and kitchen. We also had a friend who is a builder help us with the design for the master bedroom area. He incorporated our preferences, like a walk-in shower, into the blueprint.

Joanne: Since the house is 100 years old, were there any restrictions or requirements for adding on?

Charlie: Our street opted out of being part of the historic district, so we don’t have building restrictions specific to that. However, we still need to adhere to the city of Roswell’s permit requirements.

Joanne: What does your home have that you really needed?

Charlie: The main thing we needed was more space, so adding a master bedroom was crucial. We also updated the bathrooms and kitchen for modernization rather than increasing square footage.

Joanne: Which room in the house is your favorite and why?

Charlie: I love the middle of the house where we spend most of our time. We added a sunroom to bring in more natural light since the older part of the house didn’t have many windows. The charm of the house really struck me in that central area.

Joanne: Are there three fireplaces now that come off that central area?

Charlie: Yes, there are three fireplaces in a triangle formation—one in the bedroom, one in the living room, and one in the den. They all work, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy that part of the house. These three separate fireplaces share the same chimney. We had the chimney rebuilt with new brickwork and mortar, and added gas logs for easy use.

Joanne: Charlie, what’s your favorite part about the property?

Charlie: The den and sunroom are where we spend most of our time. We also love the spacious bedroom and the yard, especially when the weather is nice.

Joanne: It’s interesting how COVID made us appreciate what we value in a property, such as landscape and outdoor spaces.

Charlie: Absolutely, we have added decks and outdoor areas to make the most of our property.

Joanne: Did you have any favorite sources or places where you bought things for your house?

Charlie: We focus mainly on finding items that fit well in the smaller rooms of our house.

Joanne: After living here for 31 years, where do you like to shop for furniture and decor?

Charlie: We do a lot of online shopping and also visit Home Depot and Lowe’s. We also enjoy salvage stores and flea markets for unique finds.

Joanne: Are there any specific salvage stores or flea markets nearby that you frequent?

Charlie: There’s a place called Board of Trade [goboardoftrade.com] where we found our living room sofa and other items that fit well in our small rooms.

Joanne: Was there anything during your home renovations that you splurged on and couldn’t live without?

Charlie: The pool and the kitchen were definitely splurges. We didn’t necessarily need them, but we’re glad we have them now.

Joanne: What did you learn from the process of building the pool and outdoor kitchen?

Charlie: We love being able to enjoy the pool and cookouts outdoors.
Yeah, that’s a nice extra-large patio. And then there’s the outdoor fireplace out there. Gas Grill built in and gas cooktops and sink with hot and cold water.

Joanne: It’s all about being outside and enjoying the space, right?

Charlie: One thing we would do differently is to prioritize privacy in our outdoor area, especially around the kitchen. The neighboring house was torn down, and the new one overlooks our property, making it feel exposed. We added a fireplace to block the view of the pool, but we still plan to find a way to enhance privacy. Overall, we are happy with everything.
Joanne: Let’s discuss your impressive pool. What type of lining does it have? Is it lined with pebble tech? Is it a mineral or a saltwater pool?

Charlie: It’s actually a saltwater pool. The company that constructed it used to be located on Highway nine. The pool is made of concrete with steel walls and steel posts surrounding the edges. Concrete was poured on the floors and slides, and then they applied a hybrid membrane, which I believe is a combination of different materials.

Joanne: And could you please spell the name of the pool company for me?

Charlie: Is it spelled as DESJOYAUX. [www.desjoyaux.com]

Joanne: So now that you’ve completed your pool and everything, if money was not a concern, what would be your next project or improvement?

Charlie: We would focus on the floors. Currently, the floors are a bit challenging because the house is old and uneven. We actually laid tiles in the dining room and sunroom as one of our initial projects. However, due to the unevenness of the house, it’s difficult to lay flooring throughout consistently. We want to match the existing hardwood floors but aren’t sure if they can be laid or if we need to replace them entirely.

Joanne: I agree with you. It might be better to cover the existing tile with something rather than removing it completely. That seems to be the trend nowadays. After completing the pool and the outdoor kitchen area, is there anything you believe should not be compromised when making additions or improvements?

Charlie: Yes, I think getting a reliable contractor who will do more than just come in and install a product, but can also help with issues that older homes have.

“Behind the Curtin” Presents Presents A Historic Home on Roswell’s Wood Place Episode 6

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers


Tom Curtin, CEO of the Curtin Team, and Ben and Candice Thorton from Capital Mortgage Solutions, LLC, actively discuss cooperative buying and aiding first-time homebuyers. They dispel myths regarding down payments and explore alternative financing methods. It is revealed that a primary residence can be purchased with as little as a 5% down payment, and some loan programs mandate even less. Furthermore, they delve into the possibility of gift funds, which parents, friends, or close family members can offer. Conventional guidelines dictate that gift funds must originate from a direct family member or fiancé. 401k loans are also an option for individuals who lack a family member or employer to help with the down payment. Borrowing from a 401k to make a down payment on a home has no impact on the debt-to-income ratio.

Check out our previous blog post about the real cost of waiting to buy –
https://www.curtinteam.com/the-real-cost-of-waiting/

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers

Tom and Joanne Curtin Discuss the History of the Curtin Team

Tom and Joanne Curtin discuss the history of the Curtin Team and how the lessons they learned have propelled them forward to build a successful real estate business in Roswell, Georgia. They discuss their success in real estate investments and outline steps they took to get there. They talk about how they committed fully to the decision to invest in real estate and emphasize taking action instead of waiting for the “perfect” opportunity.

Tom and Joanne Curtin Discuss the History of the Curtin Team